Lahore: June 12, 2019. (Sunil John) The Holy month of Ramadan is a blessing as it gives a lesson of sacrifice. This year an exceeding sense of fraternity and brotherhood was witnessed, as different Christian organizations went an extra mile to offer Iftar Dinners to Muslim leaders at different mosques and Madrisas during the holy month of Ramadan. This year the number of these gatherings exceeded as compared to the past years. These Iftar gatherings brought together leaders and followers of different religions at one place where they prayed and talked to each other. This sense of brotherhood created an atmosphere of peace and harmony. The values of tolerance and acceptance were promoted through these gatherings. It was also noted that many Muslims invited Christian leaders at their homes to share Iftar with their families.
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism; Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap and prominent Christian leaders were warmly invited at homes and public places like restaurants and mosques to share Iftar by many Muslim leaders. Mr. Anwar-ul-Haq, a renowned Muslim leader and social worker, distributed gifts among Christians during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
A brief glimpse of some of these gatherings is being presented below: Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap Executive Secretary NCIDE had an Iftar dinner with MaulanaAbd-ul-Khabir Azad (The Imam of Badshahi Mosque Lahore) at his residence in Lahore. Fr. Francis Nadeem was also invited by the Imam of Badhshahi Mosque to participate in the Iftar at the Badshahi Mosque where around 5000 people were present for the Iftar. The people were amazed and happy to see a Capuchin Priest among them to share their joy who was there to express his solidarity in the holy month of Ramadan.
At Sheikhupura district, Fr,NaqashAzam, Diocesan Director; National Commission for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference) of the Archdiocese of Lahore organized an Iftar in honour of Muslim Leaders of the city.
An Iftar Dinner at Jame Masjid Sideeqa, Masti Gate, Lahore was organized by Qari Ahmed Shakeel Siddiqui and Maulana Muhammad AsimMakhdoom. It was attended by different religious leaders of different religions namely Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, Rev. Emmanuel Khokhar, Rev. Samuel Azeem
An Iftar Dinnerfor Muslim Children of Madaras (Muslim Seminaries) was organized by Fr. Francis Nadeem OFM Cap, the Executive Secretary of National Commission for interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism (Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference) in Lahore. The highlight of this iftar dinner was that Christian children wearing the sashes of the Ambassador of Peace were serving the Muslim children. The Muslim and Christian children mingled with each other during Iftar as they had the experience of friendship and brotherhood. It was an effort to promote peace and harmony at the grassroots level.
RwadariTehreek as per its tradition held the Annual Interfaith Get-together and Iftar with reference to the Holy month of Ramadan on 21st May 2019 in Lahore, which was participated by prominent religious and social leadership including Christian religious leaders Pastor Emmanuel Khokhar, Pastor Faraz Malik and Muslim religious leaders.
In the holy month of Ramadan, Sikh and Christians students from Lahore offered an iftar to the Muslims faithful. This Iftar, (breaking of the fast) was hosted by “Loyola Hall", a Jesuit retreat and education center. More than 90 university students, most of them Muslim, prayed and shared the meal with the priests of the Society of Jesus. The event was organized by Youth Development Foundation (YDF).
A ceremony was organized by Archbishop Dr Joseph Arshad of Diocese of Rawalpindi/Islamabad at Our Lady of Lourdes Minor Seminary in Rawalpindi under the supervision of Fr. Sohail Patrick (Diocesan Director NCIDE of Rawalpindi/Islamabad Diocese Pakistan) to foster tolerance and solidarity among all religions in Pakistan. The Iftar dinner was arranged by the Christian community to promote interfaith harmony, peaceful coexistence, tolerance, equality and respect for the humanity in order to counter extremism and promote peace and stability in the society.
On May 31st, the Provincial of Columban Priests in Pakistan offered an Iftar Dinner in honor of Muslim Leaders at St. Patrick’s Cathedral Karachi.
Fr. James Chanan O.P., Regional Coordinator of URI, arranged a gathering at Peace Center Lahore, where a number of prominent Muslim and Christian leaders participated to promote peace and harmony during
Moderator of Presbyterian Church in Pakistan, Rev. Dr. Majeed Able organized an Iftar Dinner at Noulkha Church Lahore to share the blessing of Ramadan with Muslim Brethren. Christian leaders were also present on this occasion.
An Iftar Dinner was organized by His Excellency Bishop Dr. Azad Marshall Raiwind Diocese, Church of Pakistan where renowned personalities participated which included Fr. Francis Nadeem, Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, Maulana Muhammad AsimMakhdoom , Hafiz Nouman Hamid, PirShafaatRasool, Fr. Sunil Ifran, Dr. Majid Able, Rev. Emmanuel Khokhar, Rev. SaleemKhokhar, Rev. ShahidMiraj, Dr. RagibNaeemi, Dr. BadarMunir, Provincial Minister SardarMohsin Khan Leghari, Ex-minister Tahir Khalil Sindhu and Bishop Mano Rumalshah.
The Sikh community also organized anIftar Dinner for Muslims to boost interfaith harmony in Peshawar city.The organizers of the event told that members of Hindu and Christian communities also contributed to the cause of interfaith harmony while young Muslim volunteers were part of the Iftar Dinner arrangements. In an effort to promote religious harmony and mutual respect, members of Sikh community motivated a group of young volunteers to host Iftar Dinners at different places of the city for the Muslims. They also arranged Iftar Dinners at orphanages and hospitals around the city for poor and laborers.